EPA CIAQ: GAO Mold Audit Workgroup doesn't report in

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Feb 13, 2010, 12:15:35 AM2/13/10
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Below is an article written by Susan Brinchman of School Mold Help.

EPA CIAQ: GAO Mold Audit Workgroup doesn't report in
What is going on at the EPA?

Indoor air pollution and mold

aren't top priorities?

On Feb. 3rd, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency's CIAQ
(Committee on Indoor Air Quality) held one of its three yearly
meetings in Washington, DC. Prior to this meeting, the US GAO Mold
Audit Workgroup was to have met again, in Jan. 2010, to determine how
to protect health by informing the American public about mold hazards,
prevention and solutions, maintaining consistency across federal
agencies (one of their very few meetings scheduled since designated to
do so by the GAO in its Oct. 2008 report).Their progress was to have
been reported in the CIAQ meeting, as CIAQ oversees this workgroup.
But it was a no-show for the mold workgroup. In fact, nothing about
mold problems was even on the agenda! We'd like to know WHY. Whose
decision was that? We want that information made public, with a
detailed explanation. There are signs that under the new Obama-
appointed EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, indoor air pollution is not
a top priority.

Members of the public were able to participate in the CIAQ meeting by
phone, muted, recognized occasionally for commentary, after
registering for a webinar, in addition to those physically present.
There were many unhappy people on those phone lines, especially since
it certainly appeared that the EPA's CIAQ group was dodging the issues
about why the workgroup made no report. After three hours, one of the
EPA administrators present, David Rowson, of the Center for Asthma and
Schools, finally admitted that the mold workgroup hadn't met. Also,
that the minutes from the last CIAQ meeting in Oct., 2009, detailing
information about this workgroup, among other topics, hadn't been
written or published. The mold comments that were made by phone
participants on Feb. 3rd were going to be cut from the audio of this
CIAQ meeting and posted separately, "somewhere", we were all told by
Mr. Phil Jalbert, of the CIAQ. Considering research from WHO, IOM, and
thousands of scientists have shown mold and dampness-related illnesses
seriously impact the health of millions, we find this negligence on
the part of EPA to be inexcusable. It is an ominous sign that even
with a new agency head appointed, we note that indoor air pollution
didn't even make it onto the list of EPA priorities for its budget of
2010 (see below). We are particularly disappointed that this leading
cause of asthma has been left off the list, in the midst of an
increasing, serious asthma epidemic for school-aged children.

The SMH Director and Board President attended the CIAQ meeting by
phone, as we have for numerous others, along with individuals
representing at least 8 other mold activist groups. The CIAQ has the
responsibility, given to it by the US General Accounting Office,
research arm of Congress, to coordinate the mold information in a
manner that will benefit the public. We insist that this be continued
and the task completed. It has been 1.5 years since the US GAO Mold
Audit was published. The stalling and avoidance must stop. The public
deserves protection via scientifically accurate, up-to-date,
consistent information from all government agencies. For example, to
date, none of the US gov't agencies have yet informed the public about
the WHO findings (July 2009) that indoor dampness can cause new asthma
cases, and that mold and dampness are associated with immunological
problems. Mold and dampness are rampant in our schools, workplaces,
and homes. We call upon the US EPA and its new administrator, Lisa
Jackson, to make clean, healthy indoor air a top priority of the US
EPA, continuing the work of the CIAQ's GAO Mold Audit workgroup on a
fast track, and for all EPA administrators to be responsive to the
public. We call upon Mrs. Jackson, the mother of a child with asthma,
to make up-to-date education about indoor mold and dampness,
coordinated with other gov't agencies, with EPA child protection from
these dangerous conditions, the EPA's highest priorities.(SMH)

To write the CIAQ, email ci...@epamail.epa.govThis e-mail address is
being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
and address your letters to Phil Jalbert, Executive Secretary.

To write Mr. David Rowson, Director, Center for Asthma and Schools,
Indoor Environments Divison, US EPA email rowson...@epa.gov.

We suggest writing President Obama about this as well, as ignoring and
avoiding public health issues adds significantly to the public health
burden and economic problems of the nation. President Obama has
ordered all administrators to exercise transparency at their federal
agencies. We are really disappointed in the EPA in this respect.

We hear over and over again, from mold-ill people or parents of school
mold-ill students, that they are frustrated that United States
government agencies are of no help to them what-so-ever. We have a
serious public health threat that isn't being properly addressed
because our government agencies have been remiss. The US GAO Mold
Audit (2008) agreed. We are disappointed with the EPA's attitude
during the CIAQ meeting and with the lack of prompt and responsible
action at the federal level.

To learn how to support The Center for School Mold Help's efforts,
click here.



From: U.S. EPA < usa...@govdelivery.comThis e-mail address is being
protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tue, Jan 12, 2010 2:33 pm
Subject: EPA News Release (HQ): Memorandum From Lisa P. Jackson,
Administrator to EPA Employees

Adora Andy
pr...@epa.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots,
you need JavaScript enabled to view it

January 12, 2010


From: Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator

To: All EPA Employees


Almost one year ago, I began my work as Administrator. It has been a
deeply fulfilling 12 months and a wonderful homecoming for me. As our
first year together draws to a close, we must now look to the tasks

In my First Day Memo, I outlined five priorities for my time as
Administrator. We have made enormous strides on all five, and our
achievements reflect your hard work and dedication. By working with
our senior policy team, listening to your input and learning from the
experiences of the last 12 months, we have strengthened our focus and
expanded the list of priorities. Listed below are seven key themes to
focus the work of our agency.

Taking Action on Climate Change: 2009 saw historic progress in the
fight against climate change, with a range of greenhouse gas reduction
initiatives. We must continue this critical effort and ensure
compliance with the law. We will continue to support the President and
Congress in enacting clean energy and climate legislation. Using the
Clean Air Act, we will finalize our mobile source rules and provide a
framework for continued improvements in that sector. We will build on
the success of Energy Star to expand cost-saving energy conservation
and efficiency programs. And, we will continue to develop common-
sense solutions for reducing GHG emissions from large stationary
sources like power plants. In all of this, we must also recognize that
climate change will affect other parts of our core mission, such as
protecting air and water quality, and we must include those
considerations in our future plans.

Improving Air Quality: American communities face serious health and
environmental challenges from air pollution. We have already proposed
stronger ambient air quality standards for ozone, which will help
millions of American breathe easier and live healthier. Building on
that, EPA will develop a comprehensive strategy for a cleaner and more
efficient power sector, with strong but achievable emission reduction
goals for SO2, NOx, mercury and other air toxics. We will strengthen
our ambient air quality standards for pollutants such as PM, SO2 and
NO2 and will achieve additional reductions in air toxics from a range
of industrial facilities. Improved monitoring, permitting and
enforcement will be critical building blocks for air quality

Assuring the Safety of Chemicals: One of my highest priorities is to
make significant and long overdue progress in assuring the safety of
chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies. Last year I
announced principles for modernizing the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Separately, we are shifting EPA’s focus to address high-concern
chemicals and filling data gaps on widely produced chemicals in
commerce. At the end of 2009, we released our first-ever chemical
management plans for four groups of substances, and more plans are in
the pipeline for 2010. Using our streamlined Integrated Risk
Information System, we will continue strong progress toward rigorous,
peer-reviewed health assessments on dioxins, arsenic, formaldehyde,
TCE and other substances of concern.

Cleaning Up Our Communities: In 2009 EPA made strong cleanup progress
by accelerating our Superfund program and confronting significant
local environmental challenges like the asbestos Public Health
Emergency in Libby, Montana and the coal ash spill in Kingston,
Tennessee. Using all the tools at our disposal, including enforcement
and compliance efforts, we will continue to focus on making safer,
healthier communities. I am committed to maximizing the potential of
our brownfields program, particularly to spur environmental cleanup
and job creation in disadvantaged communities. We are also developing
enhanced strategies for risk reduction in our Superfund program, with
stronger partnerships with stakeholders affected by our cleanups.

Protecting America’s Waters: America’s waterbodies are imperiled as
never before. Water quality and enforcement programs face complex
challenges, from nutrient loadings and stormwater runoff, to invasive
species and drinking water contaminants. These challenges demand both
traditional and innovative strategies. We will continue comprehensive
watershed protection programs for the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes.
We will initiate measures to address post-construction runoff, water
quality impairment from surface mining, and stronger drinking water
protection. Recovery Act funding will expand construction of water
infrastructure, and we will work with states to develop nutrient
limits and launch an Urban Waters initiative. We will also revamp
enforcement strategies to achieve greater compliance across the

Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for
Environmental Justice: We have begun a new era of outreach and
protection for communities historically underrepresented in EPA
decision-making. We are building strong working relationships with
tribes, communities of color, economically distressed cities and
towns, young people and others, but this is just a start. We must
include environmental justice principles in all of our decisions. This
is an area that calls for innovation and bold thinking, and I am
challenging all of our employees to bring vision and creativity to our
programs. The protection of vulnerable subpopulations is a top
priority, especially with regard to children. Our revitalized
Children’s Health Office is bringing a new energy to safeguarding
children through all of our enforcement efforts. We will ensure that
children’s health protection continues to guide the path forward.

Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships: States and tribal
nations bear important responsibilities for the day-to-day mission of
environmental protection, but declining tax revenues and fiscal
challenges are pressuring state agencies and tribal governments to do
more with fewer resources. Strong partnerships and accountability are
more important than ever. EPA must do its part to support state and
tribal capacity and, through strengthened oversight, ensure that
programs are consistently delivered nationwide. Where appropriate, we
will use our own expertise and capacity to bolster state and tribal

We will also focus on improving EPA’s internal operations, from
performance measures to agency processes. We have a complex
organization -- which is both an asset and a challenge. We will strive
to ensure that EPA is a workplace worthy of our top notch workforce.
Our success will depend on supporting innovation and creativity in
both what we do and how we do it, and I encourage everyone to be part
of constructively improving our agency.

These priorities will guide our work in 2010 and the years ahead. They
are built around the challenges and opportunities inherent in our
mission to protect human health and the environment for all
Americans. We will carry out our mission by respecting our core
values of science, transparency and the rule of law. I have unlimited
confidence in the talent and spirit of our workforce, and I will look
to your energy, ideas and passion in the days ahead. I know we will
meet these challenges head on, as one EPA.

Lisa P. Jackson

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